California State Law

Since there is currently no State controlled Licensing of Property Inspectors in California, all reputable inspectors follow standards of practice set out by professional associations such as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) [link] or a similar organization.  In addition, inspectors in California are governed by State of California Business & Professionals Code, the relevant sections of which are reproduced below.



SECTION 7195-7199

7195. For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions


(a) (1) "Home inspection" is a noninvasive, physical examination,

performed for a fee in connection with a transfer, as defined in

subdivision (e), of real property, of the mechanical, electrical, or

plumbing systems or the structural and essential components of a

residential dwelling of one to four units designed to identify

material defects in those systems, structures and components. "Home

inspection" includes any consultation regarding the property that is

represented to be a home inspection or any confusingly similar term.

(2) "Home inspection," if requested by the client, may include an

inspection of energy efficiency . Energy efficiency items to be

inspected may include the following:

(A) A noninvasive inspection of insulation R-values in attics,

roofs, walls, floors, and ducts.

(B) The number of window glass panes and frame types.

(C) The heating and cooling equipment and water heating systems.

(D) The age and fuel type of major appliances.

(E) The exhaust and cooling fans.

(F) The type of thermostat and other systems.

(G) The general integrity and potential leakage areas of walls,

window areas, doors, and duct systems.

(H) The solar control efficiency of existing windows.

(b) A "material defect" is a condition that significantly affects

the value, desirability, habitability, or safety of the dwelling.

Style or aesthetics shall not be considered in determining whether a

system, structure, or component is defective.

(c) A "home inspection report" is a written report prepared for a

fee and issued after a home inspection. The report clearly describes

and identifies the inspected systems, structures, or components of

the dwelling, any material defects identified, and any

recommendations regarding the conditions observed or recommendations

for evaluation by appropriate persons.

(d) A "home inspector" is any individual who performs a home


(e) "Transfer" is a transfer by sale, exchange, installment land

sales contract, as defined in Section 2985 of the Civil Code, lease

with an option to purchase, any other option to purchase, or ground

lease coupled with improvements, of real property or residential

stock cooperative, improved with or consisting of not less than one

nor more than four dwelling units.

7196. It is the duty of a home inspector who is not licensed as a

general contractor, structural pest control operator, or architect,

or registered as a professional engineer to conduct a home inspection

with the degree of care that a reasonably prudent home inspector

would exercise.

7196.1. (a) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to allow

home inspectors who are not registered engineers to perform any

analysis of the systems, components, or structural integrity of a

dwelling that would constitute the practice of civil, electrical, or

mechanical engineering, or to exempt a home inspector from Chapter 3

(commencing with Section 5500), Chapter 7 (commencing with Section

6700), Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 7000), or Chapter 14

(commencing with Section 8500) of Division 3.

(b) This chapter does not apply to a registered engineer, licensed

land surveyor, or licensed architect acting pursuant to his or her

professional registration or license, nor does it affect the

obligations of a real estate licensee or transferor under Article 1.5

(commencing with Section 1102) of Chapter 2 of Title 4 of Part 3 of

Division 2 of, or Article 2 (commencing with Section 2079) of Chapter

3 of Title 6 of Part 4 of Division 3 of, the Civil Code.

7197. (a) It is an unfair business practice for a home inspector, a

company that employs the inspector, or a company that is controlled

by a company that also has a financial interest in a company

employing a home inspector, to do any of the following:

(1) To perform or offer to perform, for an additional fee, any

repairs to a structure on which the inspector, or the inspector's

company, has prepared a home inspection report in the past 12 months.

(2) Inspect for a fee any property in which the inspector, or the

inspector's company, has any financial interest or any interest in

the transfer of the property.

(3) To offer or deliver any compensation, inducement, or reward to

the owner of the inspected property, the broker, or agent, for the

referral of any business to the inspector or the inspection company.

(4) Accept an engagement to make an inspection or to prepare a

report in which the employment itself or the fee payable for the

inspection is contingent upon the conclusions in the report,

pre-established findings, or the close of escrow.

(5) A home protection company that is affiliated with or that

retains the home inspector does not violate this section if it

performs repairs pursuant to claims made under the home protection


(b) This section shall not affect the ability of a structural pest

control operator to perform repairs pursuant to Section 8505 as a

result of a structural pest control inspection.

7198. Contractual provisions that purport to waive the duty owed

pursuant to Section 7196, or limit the liability of the home

inspector to the cost of the home inspection report, are contrary to

public policy and invalid.

7199. The time for commencement of a legal action for breach of

duty arising from a home inspection report shall not exceed four

years from the date of the inspection.


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